Evoke 2011 Report

Written by KeyJ / Kakiarts

The summer season is always packed with high-class parties: Assembly, Evoke and BŁnzli follow each other closely, more often than not on three successive weekends. Still, all of these parties have their specialties that make them unique: Assembly is one of the two largest and most influential parties where most of the big groups release their stuff. BŁnzli is small and cozy and has the most interesting compos (OHP compo ftw! :). And Evoke is just a lovely party that always had a great atmosphere and location. 2005 to 2008, it was held in the Vulkanhalle in KŲln-Ehrenfeld and moved to the "Abenteuerhallen" in KŲln-Kalk in 2009, where it stayed till today.

I possibly should write something about the overall atmosphere of the party, but to be honest, I could not write anything that has not been said before by myself and virtually every other person who wrote about any Evoke. To reiterate: The atmosphere is awesome. Granted, this year we were not particularly lucky with the weather since it rained quite often. But thanks to the tents outside, this wasnít an issue at all źĖ the real party was outside, like every time :) In fact, the tents served as a "second floor" where the liveacts had their gigs. In the main hall, the PA was silent when no compo was running, so the soundscape in there was mostly dominated by smaller speakers brought by attendants. For example, we did a small demoshow at the trbl / Kakiarts / poo crew / Moods Plateau table on Saturday evening before the compos, so if you were at the party and heard the soundtracks of some popular PC and Amiga demos during that time, that might have been us :)

Like in previous years, Evoke featured a small seminar area, but only one seminar was held this time źĖ though a quite interesting one: Louie of The Black Lotus talked about how lighting is done in DICEís Frostbite 2 engine as used in the upcoming Battlefield 3 game. Special thanks go to the organizers for making sure that the seminar didnít collide with other events on the timetable, which is sometimes an issue at some seminar-packed parties like Revision.

Releases

Being a smaller party and taking place just one week after Assembly, Evoke usually lacks top-notch entries from the most acclaimed groups like Fairlight and ASD. źThis doesnít mean that there are no good releases, though Ė quite the contrary. Especially in 2011, many well-known groups released very good productions at Evoke.

ANSI / ASCII

There was nothing really special about this compo. Most entries were decent, but the compo was cleary dominated by Cleaner & Sylvao, who made a great retro-themed ANSI.

Tiny Tracking Music

The five entries in this compo were mostly of the oldschool, chiptune-inspired variant. The most notable exception is the winner track, "Cloud Number 5" by Saga Musix, which was more like 90s dance music, including an incredibly cheesy main melody.

MP3/Ogg Music

As expected, this was the compo with by far the most entries Ė 15 of them, to be precise. Interestingly, the overall quality and stylistic variance of the entries was higher than that of the Assembly music compo a week ago. The most notable entries are trance tracks by Wayfinder (#5) and JCO (#6, vocal trance), redís weird and unique "Iím a (MF) computer" (#2) and the DrumíníBass tracks from Keith303 (#4) and glxblt (#1).

Pixel Graphics

This compo had seven entries, three of which were really great: M.A.D. Newline of Shining 8 drew a very nice image of an evil grinning kid on a bike saying "my daddy is much more evil than yours", Ragnarok did a new version of his infamous "Crucified Fetus" and the winning entry "Mandatory Field" by fuith is a classic fantasy/sci-fi drawing.

Freestyle Graphics

In this compo, we got six entries of good quality. In the end, it was won by Prince of The Obsessed Maniacs with "LŲterkŲter" Ė a very small entry for him, a mere handful of megapixels compared to the gigapixel images he usually does, but it showed his extreme attention to detail just as well.

Wild (Animation)

Summer 2011 is a good season for animation compos, it seems: After the awesome compo at Assembly, we got another four very cool entries at Evoke. Glittering Unicorn of Accession turned the artifacts that occur during video frame interpolation into an art form: He took photos while riding on inline skates and interpolated those, resulting in strange and psychedelic pattern in those places where the algorithm failed. Unfortunately, the video was too long and contained a few boring scenes as well, so it only got the fourth place.

"The Anger of the Ape" by Streetcreatures was a cartoon animation very similar to the classic demo Glon 243 by Cocoon, albeit much shorter. "Jonnys Journey" by newcomer Nerdarzt is a funny animation depicting the life of, well, a dot, which ultimately ends in superb 3D scenes that take place in the first level of Super Mario. Not everybody liked that entry, but I for sure did, and so must have many others, since it got the second place.

The first place clearly and deservedly went to Gaspode, who did another stop motion animation. Instead of "noodles" like last year, he used "cuts" of paper this time. An incredible amount of work went into that video, I canít do anything but take my hat off in reverence. After all, 105 hours(!) of time went into the production of the entry!

Wild (Alternative Platforms)

The alternative platform compo was quite long, but very good. 4 out of 10 entries were for the C64, but other than that, there was a wide diversity of platforms: A CPC demo, an Amiga ECS single-screener from Moods Plateau, a Nyan Cat port to the Atari 2600(!), Gasman did a first simple demo on the r0ket badge from this yearís Chaos Communication Camp, "Azathioprine" by Alcatraz was maybe the first really good-looking, though technically quite simple, WebGL demo. The winner was JCO with his Windows game "Earworm", which is basically a "snakes" clone, but running on the surface of a cube and synchronized to music with increasing tempo.

PC 4k Intro

All of the six entries were quite watchable: tAAtís simple point sprite intro called "Excess Geometry" got the last place, followed by "Green Cube" by Japanese group SystemK. Alcatraz & Stroboholicsí entry "Recycle 4000" seemed more like a non-serious compofiller featuring severely inconsistent design, but the fractal cityscape showed in the intro looked quite promising. "Artificial Incident" by Mad of Still was followed the current particle hype, but apart from the technical aspects, it didnít look all that interesting to me. The second-placed entry "S.P.H.E.A.R" showed Looniesí extreme dedication to making stuff smaller than generally though possible: Itís a 1k intro, with music even, and real CPU-generated geometry, as opposed to the 1k intros of the last few years, which were all of the two-triangles-and-a-complex-pixel-shader variant based on raymarching. Speaking of which, even though that technique went a little bit out of fashion lately, BluFlame still managed to win the compo with their beautifully-rendered raymarching intro "RED".

PC 64k Intro

The 64k category has been quite weak for years now, and the compo at Evoke wasnít a surprise either. Inqueís "Traversing the Unknown" showed some nice rendering and even a 3D model reminiscent of Plasticís classic 195/95, but otherwise it felt a bit empty and thus only got the third place. The second place went to another Japanese production: Newcomer Q teamed up with Parsec of Brainstorm and delivered his first intro at Evoke.

Winner of the compo was "Core25000" by Titan. To be honest, I donít quite see the reason for this Ė neither technically nor design-wise was this intro anything to write home about. OK, itís software rendering, but then again there was nothing to see that wouldnít be possible with graphics cards from the late 90s. I think that the great ASCII and pixel logos contained in the intro and the general retro cracktro feeling made it prevail against the otherwise superior competition.

PC Demo

There were six entries in this category, four of which deserve a closer look: At the fourth place, there is the official BŁnzli invitation by Pro, Psykon, Netpoet and Unlock. From a technical and design standpoint, this is your typical fun demo, but itís so cute that you canít help but at least smile when you see it.

The third place went to "Virta" by Brainstorm, Traction and ‹mlaŁt Design. This is a very solid demo, in typical Traction style. However, I must admit that I grew tired of this style by now and thus didnít like the demo all that much. Still I think that it should have got the second place, which instead went to TGGCís raymarcher "When" with its clean and shiny surfaces that looked quite a bit like in Plasticís demos from 2005.

The compo was won by Still, who were completely surprised about that. After all, "Beta" was just a test for their new demo engine. Nevertheless, being Still, they put out a great demo with a lot of style anyway and won the hearts (and votes) of the audience with their animated Victor Vasarely paintings.

- KeyJ / Kakiarts

Evoke 2011 Results